Photo by MD Sky Shots Ariel View of Kenmare, with Kenmare Bay in the background

Kenmare - Neidín

Kenmare is a unique heritage town. Sir William Petty established a settlement outside Kenmare, now referred to as Kenmare Old in 1670. Around 1775 Kenmare as we know it was developed as one of Ireland's first planned towns by 1st Marquess of Lansdowne (William Petty-Fitzmaurice). It is this plan that makes Kenmare a unique heritage town.
Kenmare is laid out in a 'X-shape' street plan, giving us a market square and a triangular town park.
From the top of Henry Street, there is a clear view of Holy Cross Church, drawing our attention into the town centre.
The brightly coloured buildings contain many heritage features, such as sash windows, giving Kenmare a warm, welcoming feeling.
The name in Irish is Neidín, meaning 'Little nest', as Kenmare is nestled between the mountains and at the head of the Kenmare Bay.
Detailed below are some of the sites managed by Kenmare Tidy Towns, showing what we are doing to manage and improve each site.

Town Centre

Kenmare Tidy Towns have been active in bringing biodiversity and sustainability into the Town Centre. We use the the All Ireland Pollinator Plan as a key document.

Planters: We have used a pollinator friendly planting scheme in new planters received from Kerry County Council.

Fair Green: A biodiversity bed with a wide range of pollinator attracting flowers along with an edible garden with blueberry, blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes have been added to the Fair Green. A public information sign will shortly be erected which is full of valuable information as detailed in the Biodiversity page.
Sustainability: Bike racks were installed in 2020. In 2021 we are installing a water dispenser, funded through the Community Fund, by Kerry County Council.

Partnerships: We encourage all residents and businesses to plant for biodiversity and use the All Ireland Pollinator Plan guidance documents.

Cromwell's Bridge

Cromwell's Bridge was not named after Oliver Cromwell. The name is believed to come from the word "Croiméal", "moustache" in Irish, referring to the bridge's shape.  It is thought that it was built by  Franciscan monks  to reach the Holy Well across the river.  The bridge would have been built up on both sides to make it easy to cross.
It is a special place thanks to the variety of habitats, river bank, rockface, grass area, woodland. 
A wide variety of plant species are found at this location detailed on an information board onsite.
Japanese Knotweed is an issue along the riverbank. Kenmare Tidy Towns have been active in trying to eradicate this invasive species. In 2017, with Kerry County Council we 

commissioned the repair and strengthening and protection of Cromwell’s Bridge.

Across the river from the Cromwell's Bridge is the Hillock area. It is an area comprised of scrub, grassy areas, limestone outcrop and river bank.
Oak trees have been planted by Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine Students.
The brambles and ivy provide cover and food for wildlife.
Native tree species such as blackthorn are seen to be regenerating.
Some non native species, such as Himalayan balsam are present and may need to be managed.
Reenagross, looking towards the Finnihy Photo by John Dillon


Reenagross or Rinn na gCros, Irish for the Headland of the Crosses or the Muddy Point
Reenagross park is a wooded peninsula set within the beautiful landscape of Kenmare Bay. It was originally developed as a private park by the first Marquis of Lansdowne (1739-1803). 

Reenagross is a rich wildlife habitat with 14 habitats and over 300 species from flowering plants, seaweed, mosses, lichens, fungi, trees, birds, bats, insects and fish. See leaflet with details on the biodiversity at Reenagross here.

There are large stands of rhododendron on the island, some of which gives Reenagross it's popular 'Lover's Walk'. Yet it creates a thick canopy which inhibits natural regeneration of the woodland.
Management of Rhododendron and Gunnera are part of Kenmare Tidy Town's activities.
In 2015, the Adopt a Tree initiative  saw 100 new native trees planted by local families.
In 2019 we added directional signposts for walks in the park, including a sign saying  “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute”.
A virtual tour of Reenagross , which we commissioned, can be found by clicking here.  

Rainbow over the Peninsula Lands Photo by John Dillon

The Peninsula

The Peninsula is a public park acquired for the people of Kenmare by Kerry County Council. We in Kenmare Tidy Towns were prominent in the quest for this purchase.It is a fantastic wildlife area full of wildflower meadows, trees, scrub, sea shore and river bank.In 2019 we planted 150 native trees along the boundary fence as part of the 'Trees on the Land' initiative.
The park is widely used by locals for walks, runs, picnics and for local events.
Currently a feasibility study is being drafted which will inform future development plans for the park.

Grotto in May when the BlueBells and Wild Garlic are in full flower

Our Lady's Well

Our Lady's well is a spring well which has been used by locals as a place of prayer. A decade of the rosary is said as we walk around the circular path. After each decade, a stone is used to make a cross on the rock next to the well. The well has been traditionally visited on 15th August, which is a Fair Day in Kenmare.